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Old 04-27-2009, 10:21 AM   #1
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996 C4S Test Drive Report

Went to the dealer this weekend and test drove both a 2004 and 2005 996 C4S.

WARNING - Do NOT do a test drive like this unless you are willing to fall completely in love/lust with another car. I was completely content with the 250 Hp of my 2000 986 S and figured the 30% more power of the C4S wouldn't really matter. I was wrong...

One of the cars also had the PSE. WOW!!! Now I finally understand what everyone raves about with this exhaust. Plus the button on the dash to quiet it down is way cool. My girl was with me too and she loved the exhaust and asked me why my Gemballa exhaust was so quiet!

One car had a short throw shifter and I didn't care for that. The standard shifter was ultra smooth though. Now that's raised questions in my mind because I've got a similar transmission in my S and it's not nearly as smooth as what I tried in the '04 C4S. I'm wondering now if I have a problem or if there are just more significant mechanical differences than what I'm guessing. I mean the AWD of the C4S must mean the transmission is certainly different, but I guess it's probably more different than similar to the 6 speed in the 986 S and 996 C2. I should try a C2 to compare, but the dealer had no 996 C2's on the lot. Their used car inventory was actually pretty low.

Well, bottom line I was pretty impressed with the car and was smiling from ear to ear. I think I'm going to find one in my garage (along with my Box) before too long here. I've been on the used car hunt for a while and this test drive pretty much made up my mind as to what I'm looking for.

Kirk

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Old 04-27-2009, 11:54 AM   #2
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I had the pleasure of having an '03 C4s for 3 days a couple of summers ago. It is an outstanding car. It did seem to have noticeably more power/torque than the last boxster S i drove. You also can't beat the looks of the C4s.

The other nice thing about the 996s is that they've all come down considerably in price over the past year. It looks like you can get a nice c4 with decent mileage in the mid 30s.
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Old 04-27-2009, 12:24 PM   #3
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On a different note, as a DE instructor, I drive a lot of 996s and 997s. Though the cars will have more power, the weight balance and driver's aids don't make for as nimble of driving experience when compared with a Boxster or Cayman.

No matter how you look at it, they are big heavy cars and are better suited to grand touring (which they do very well). I prefer GT3s to the other variants.

You want a real kick in the pants? Drive a pre 1974 911. I sold a very well equipped RS America to get into my '73 lightweight; nothing like the feel of an early 911 (though I do enjoy my Box S).
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Old 04-27-2009, 05:01 PM   #4
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Dude Kirk your phones call confused the heck out of my Dad and I(he's also named Robert). My Dad also has a friend at work named Kirk so we were stumped on those calls....'Dad why are your coworkers calling my phone instead of yours?' Lol.

Enjoy the ride man!
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:12 AM   #5
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This close--a wisker-- from buying a guards red/tan C4S late summer in 2007 when the credit crisis was first starting to rear its head. This was to be my winter mobile or as my lady friend called it your "minivan". Mileage was low, all options were present, paint was perfect, Arizona car. But the dealer was holding firm on a final price despite there be very few visitors to his lot. I was arranging the PPI when my gut started telling "this car will be way cheaper in 12 months...bad time to buy". So I backed out the dealer called a few weeks later to tell me the car was still available. If the economy hadn't started falling fast at that point I would have pounded him on price and driven home in my new mini van. Had I pulled the trigger I would have missed out on buying the car for $12K in less in under a year. I doubt I would have put more than 5K miles on it in that time.
Now anybody can buy a C4$ even the pizza man drives one now.

as for the car itself I think its the nicest looking 911 ever in my opinion. The flared fenders and Turbo aero are pretty sweet. Too bad its not the GT1 dry sump like the TT. That would make it a no brainer.....Now as for the way the car drives, that really didn't blow me away. The added torque/hp is nice but its heavy and the understeer is too much for me to regard it as a nimble car. But its a GT so its supposed to be big, plush, kind of numb and disconnected like a TT. And of course you've got the whole pendulus cornering 911 thing...some people love that some people hate it, I don't dislike it enough to not buy a used one but I would definitely prefer a front or mid engine AWD.

For some reason everyone seems to order one as a cabriolet which really destroys the whole point for me. 911's Cabriolet's look like a bath tub with a big butt to me. It's a looker alright and at these prices it makes for a great year round car up here in the Northeast.
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:46 AM   #6
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All good points about this car. Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm going to have my cake and eat it too. I've got my Box setup for the twisties and autocross - JRZ coilovers, GT3 front sway bar, soon a Tarett rear sway bar, end links, and front camber plates. Of course I have the lower stress bars too and no added extra weight. I'm going to keep my Box and enjoy it for years to come.

However............... I put a deposit down on an '03 C4S and will have the loan check from the bank tomorrow. I go to pick it up this weekend. Bad economy be damned. I'm not selling my house (so I don't care what it's depreciated too), I have no debt, and my job is relatively stable and good. I'm going to buy a C4S while the prices are so depressed. Yeah it won't be the Boxster, but that's not what I'm looking for. I want a more comfortable GT car for longer trips and maybe the daily grind. The one I picked has coilovers though, but I'm also getting the stock suspension with the car and may swap that back in if I need the ground clearance. I may also just adjust it to a better ride height if the TechArt coilovers aren't too harsh. I think my JRZ's aren't too bad and those are a full racing setup with remote reservoirs.

Here's a pic of what I'm getting....
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:03 AM   #7
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Kirk, you've mentioned the PO is an active user in 6speed..is it Emperor (Sal)?

Nice choice for a daily grind
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by unklekraker
Kirk, you've mentioned the PO is an active user in 6speed..is it Emperor (Sal)?

Nice choice for a daily grind

Nope, the PO is "Redlinerobert" on 6speed. He was the first owner, did all of the mods and put 30K miles on the car. Sold it to a friend of his in 2005 who's put another 5K miles on it. I'll be the third owner. I've had zero issues with my Box though and also bought it as the third owner with 35K miles on the clock when the car was 5 years old. So no worries, I've done this before.

BTW, I'll have two Arctic Silver Porsches with black interiors... I told my Assistant that we'll have to do another photo shoot with both of the cars together. Only problem is that with two cars and only one girl it will seem a little unbalanced. So she's gotten a friend of hers to do the shoot with her. I just haven't gotten them to agree to do any photos of them kissing with the cars in the background. I'm still working on that angle though and will try not to disappoint. Stay tuned....

Kirk
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2000 Boxster S - Gemballa body kit, GT3 front bumper, JRZ coilovers, lower stress bars
2003 911 Carrera 4S - TechArt body kit, TechArt coilovers, HRE wheels
1986 911 Carrera Targa - 3.2L, Euro pistons, 964 cams, steel slant nose widebody
1975 911S Targa - undergoing a full restoration and engine rebuild
Also In The Garage - '66 912, '69 912, '72 914 Chalon wide body, '73 914
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:33 AM   #9
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Here's a photo of two models with the C4S that I'm buying to whet your appetite. I guess this photographer couldn't get these girls to kiss either....
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2003 911 Carrera 4S - TechArt body kit, TechArt coilovers, HRE wheels
1986 911 Carrera Targa - 3.2L, Euro pistons, 964 cams, steel slant nose widebody
1975 911S Targa - undergoing a full restoration and engine rebuild
Also In The Garage - '66 912, '69 912, '72 914 Chalon wide body, '73 914
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:02 PM   #10
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ahh a show car. That's the best kind to get. Lots of upgrades, zero track time.
I have this same car on my desk in Orange. It's a 1/18 model that came with a TechArt kit consisting of GT3 seats, TA wheels, aero, etc. Picked it up on Ebay for $50.

I might change the calipers back to red. For some reason to me they blend in more and I don't have to say deal with "are they ceramics?" questions.
Going back to stock suspension is definitely a good idea if raising the ride height doesn't cure the harshness. All that rattling and shaking is not good for a daily driver, things come loose, wear out quicker and I don't think it looks right on a GT.

I see a new set of wheels in your future....
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Old 04-28-2009, 02:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perfectlap
ahh a show car. That's the best kind to get. Lots of upgrades, zero track time.
I have this same car on my desk in Orange. It's a 1/18 model that came with a TechArt kit consisting of GT3 seats, TA wheels, aero, etc. Picked it up on Ebay for $50.

I might change the calipers back to red. For some reason to me they blend in more and I don't have to say deal with "are they ceramics?" questions.
Going back to stock suspension is definitely a good idea if raising the ride height doesn't cure the harshness. All that rattling and shaking is not good for a daily driver, things come loose, wear out quicker and I don't think it looks right on a GT.

I see a new set of wheels in your future....

Good observations... the stock 18" turbo wheels and turbo suspension are coming with the car, so I will certainly have the option to switch back to stock if I find the current setup unbearable. However, my daily driver for the last six years has been a fully race prepared car with race seat, harness, roll cage, suspension, etc. Just not having to crawl through the cage, sit in a highly bolstered seat that seems to keep shrinking over the years , and not having to put on a four point harness each time will probably be a real blessing to me. Heck AC and a stereo will be really nice too!!! I do live in warm California, so the roads are pretty decent around here (no frost heave). We'll see if the current setup can survive with more regular use than what it's seen in the past....

I had similar thoughts about the yellow calipers. I don't think the PO painted them to be a poser. I just think he preferred the color. He did have them professionally powder coated and later obtained some GT2 brakes that he also painted yellow but never installed. If the powder coating job is top notch, which I believe it is, I'll probably just leave it for now.

Kirk
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2003 911 Carrera 4S - TechArt body kit, TechArt coilovers, HRE wheels
1986 911 Carrera Targa - 3.2L, Euro pistons, 964 cams, steel slant nose widebody
1975 911S Targa - undergoing a full restoration and engine rebuild
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:03 PM   #12
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Sweet ride Kirk. Very tasteful mods. I like the wheels and calipers, wouldn't change a thing... but I am sure you will add your own touch. One of my friends has a C4S. Great car and very nice for long hauls or daily driver. We take his when we want comfort and mine when we want kicks.
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Old 04-28-2009, 03:54 PM   #13
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Kirk -

you have a rough life - you have a wicked cool very unique Boxster - with that "Assitant" sprawled all over it - and now you have a 996 Carrera 4S - which I'm sure your "assistant" will be all too happy to once again sprawl all over it. I can only imagine the photos you AREN'T uploading for the world to see..

yes, my friend, you have a very rough life indeed. Can I come over to your house and sulk in misery with you???
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:58 AM   #14
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Got It!!!

Bad experience at the dealer - the car's tires were 10 - 20 psi low, it was totally out of gas, and it was a quart low on oil. I drove 4.5 hrs to see the car and the arse didn't spend 10 minutes preparing it! So we got it all squared away and I did my inspection and all was good. I bought it despite the dealer. The car was great, near perfect, so who cares if the dealer is a dweeb, plus he gave me a bit more off because of my trouble. I also know the previous owner through the web and I know how well cared for the car was. We stopped by his house and loaded my Montero SUV full with the stock wheels, stock exhaust, and two other suspension sets (Americann stock and European sport).

Here's my Assistant in Hollister, CA with the car:







I'm going to have to raise the front about 2 inches. It's just too low to be practical right now.
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2003 911 Carrera 4S - TechArt body kit, TechArt coilovers, HRE wheels
1986 911 Carrera Targa - 3.2L, Euro pistons, 964 cams, steel slant nose widebody
1975 911S Targa - undergoing a full restoration and engine rebuild
Also In The Garage - '66 912, '69 912, '72 914 Chalon wide body, '73 914
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Old 05-05-2009, 03:47 PM   #15
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that car looks AMAZING.

how much faster does it feel than the boxster? you think the boxster coudl get away from it on a twisty road or you think that Carrera coudl keep up??
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Old 05-05-2009, 07:32 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by 23109VC
that car looks AMAZING.

how much faster does it feel than the boxster? you think the boxster coudl get away from it on a twisty road or you think that Carrera coudl keep up??

On a twisty road the Boxster would win, but you have to remember that I have a GT3 front bar, drop links, stress bars front and rear, and some awesome JRZ adjustable shocks with remote reservoirs. The Box is also lighter. Right now it's really tuned for autocross and quick turning.

Throwing the cars through some of the same roads, the 996 feels like it's on the edge of the limit. The Boxster doesn't even break a sweat and has PLENTY of more room before questionable handling would step in. But I attribute most of that to the shocks as it didn't feel like that before I put the shocks on. Stock to stock I think the 996 would win.

In a straight line there is no comparison. I didn't think I would really notice the power difference. However, with an intake and exhaust the 996 is pushing 330 HP while the Box is at 250. That's about a 30% difference. You can definitely tell the difference and it's addictive in the 996. I'm having to hold myself back quite a bit, especially as it's a new car to me and I want to go have some FUN.

Kirk

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2003 911 Carrera 4S - TechArt body kit, TechArt coilovers, HRE wheels
1986 911 Carrera Targa - 3.2L, Euro pistons, 964 cams, steel slant nose widebody
1975 911S Targa - undergoing a full restoration and engine rebuild
Also In The Garage - '66 912, '69 912, '72 914 Chalon wide body, '73 914
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